Barnstable County Continues Testing and Deals with Health Supply Shortages

Patient being tested at the Cape Cod Healthcare drive-thru facility at Cape Cod Community College

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County health officials are advising that only health care professionals should be making use of personal protective equipment as supplies become more difficult to find.

In their daily update, officials also said testing continues at the drive-through site. 

Sean O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, said that the only people who should be wearing medical-grade masks are medical professionals, first responders, and those with COVID-19, and those who are taking care of them. 

“There is a shortage right now. So we want to make sure that those masks are available to our folks here within the county,” said O’Brien. 

With shortages of N95 protective masks, even using a surgical mask or paper mask does provide some protection for those that have COVID-19 from spreading the disease. 

“It’s better than nothing,” said Sean O’Brien. 

In some grocery stores, face shields are being provided to employees who are still required to interact with the public, which O’Brien said was a good idea. 

“I like the idea of the plexiglass shield, and the fact that there’s much, much cleaning going on. We’re at this point where we do need to have stores open,” said O’Brien. 

O’Brien said that it was important that these stores remain open during the crisis, and this protective equipment helps accomplish that. 

“I’ve seen Stop-and-Shop with the shields, and I think it’s something good to protect their folks. Also maintaining that social distancing as well, and I think those stores are trying to do the best they can with that, which is making sure there’s either stops or X’s on the floor to keep people back that 6 feet. Hopefully that’s going to help.” 

O’Brien said that any next steps that might limit how many people may be in a store will come from the State’s office. 

Over the weekend, 47 vehicles passed through the drive-through testing site at the Cape Cod Community College on Saturday and 16 went through on Sunday. 

O’Brien said that the lower testing count Sunday may be the result of bad weather that day. 

The department is still advising those from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut self-quarantine for 14 days. 

To slow the spread of COVID-19, self-quarantining and social distancing are critical, according to O’Brien.

Officials said that everyone committing to social distancing will help protect everyone in Barnstable County. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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